In Praise of Clethra alnifolia

We are blessed in the northwest to be able to grow a wide variety of plant material from many other parts of the world (in addition of course to our own native flora).  Like most people, gardeners are always looking for something new and different that is not locally found.  But going what seems like a long way away to find new plants isn’t always necessary.  Take for example Clethera alnifolia, or Summersweet as it is commonly called…

The July To-Do List

It’s been a while since I have thrown a “to-do” list at you so I think it is about time to get back to the basics.  Chores this month can be summed up with the following words:  water, feed, mulch, prune, stake, and manage insects and diseases.  Here’s a little more detail on those items…

Perennial Lobelias Will Bring In The Hummers

There is nothing about gardening that can be considered “one and done” - many tasks repeat themselves throughout the seasons.  Pruning happens multiple times as does weeding, but the best task of all that gets to happen almost year ‘round is planting.  There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t find some new treasure on the benches in the nursery that I have to take home and try out in my garden.  No matter how crowded things may seem to be, I can always find room for one more plant.  It just so happens that this week that plant is a perennial lobelia….

June Is A Great Month To Be Gardening

June is a fabulous month to be gardening in the northwest.  The soils have warmed up adequately and the air temp is very pleasant.  There’s lots of daylight, so we can get out after work and still get plenty done.  There is no shortage of plants to be found at your local garden center and with 3 to 4 months of good growing weather ahead of us, I think it is safe to say that June could easily be the most productive month of the year.  Here are some things to focus on…

Plants That Will Survive Our Dry Summers (and still look interesting!)

It always seems odd to be talking about drought tolerance when we get literally feet of rain every year and we generally have an adequate supply of water for the summer months, but as we all know, our rainfall isn’t distributed evenly throughout the season and consequently our summers can be quite dry.  Gardeners have options when it comes to selecting plants that are low water users that also have some great visual interest…

Dogwoods - A Coast-To-Coast Favorite

When I hear the word “dogwood” I am immediately transported back to a time in my life when I was living on the east coast in Virginia serving my country as a trumpet player in the 392nd Army Band.  I shall always have this picture in my mind of driving down a country road, enshrouded with large trees under which are dogwoods, their horizontal branches clothed with layers of white flowers.  It is a sight to behold…

May Is Not The Only Month We Can Plant

Never in my 30 years of operating my garden center have I seen such an influx of customers come in all at the same time.  There is something about our long and excessively wet winters that drives us to this state of manic nursery shopping.  I am thrilled to see everyone return for another season, but I always feel compelled to remind everyone that we can plant almost year around in the northwest.  Don’t feel like you have to do it all in the next couple of weeks.  There is plenty of time….